How to choose right fuel for your Process Boiler

Boiler Combustion

Fuel is the most important matter in the Boiler operation as the heat generated after its combustion converts water to steam as per the designed Steam output .Boilers are designed differently as per different fuels proposed by the user/client. Each fuel has its distinct chemical and combustible properties . The efficiency of a boiler to a great extent depends on the type of fuel used.

A. What is Fuel?

It is a material or substance artificial or natural on combustion ( Burning) produces heat energy

B. How many types of fuels are available for firing in a  Industrial Boiler?

There are many fuels that can be used in firing or used for firing in the Boiler but by and large following are widely used as such we would be limiting to these fuels.

  1. SOLID FUEL         > Coal, Biomass briquettes , wood, other biomass  fuels.
  2. LIQUID FUELS     > Petrol, Diesel, Heavy oils , LSHS , LDO etc..,
  3. GASEOUS FUELS   >  Natural gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas ( LPG) Blast furnace gas , coal gas , producer gas etc..,
  4. AGRO WASTE FUELS      > Husk ,  Baggase ,  Corn cobs , Groundnut shells etc..,

C. What are the main fuel characteristics of these fuel?

There are different characteristics, the main combustible value ( Optimal Heat ) for each widely used fuel is as under for your reference.

FuelCalorific value (kJ/g)
Wood Pellets17
Cow Dungs7
Heat Value of Fuels
 TYPE OF FUEL Coal (Indian)WoodHusk Briquettes
Ash %36.394.327
Net Calaorific Value (NCV) kcal/kg430029503356
Gross Calorific Value (GCV) kcal/kg450032753635
Basic Characteristic of Widely used fuels

D. What are the  important aspects while , selecting a fuel to be used in Boiler

  • Availability of Fuel : The fuel should be easily and widely available near the location of the plant . Generally, areas near coal belt users prefer coal as fuel.Those places where agro waste is available as refuse from plant at less price, the same is used , example Rice Mill will have husk as fuel so they go for husk fired Boiler . Where Oil or gas is cheaply available theses are used , example OPEC countries. In India Oil & LPG is more expensive . If natural gas is available you can think it as a option .
  • Alternate fuels : You should select a Boiler where if you can use multi-fuel ( of Same family) will be a added advantage.
  • Cost of Fuel : This is the most important aspect in selecting Boiler fuel. In order to achieve operational and economical efficiency of the unit .
  • Pollution Control Norms : You should consider the pollution control norms of your region / state / country while selecting the type of fuel. If there are restriction on the emissions for examples within city limits / certain SEZ’s then Gas & Oil should be selected.

NOTE : In some sectors / regions , the pollution norms prevents use of solid fuels like coal or agro waste. Though expensive, oil or gas is used in that case as fuel.

For any specific enquiries or clarifications  for any fuels  apart from mentioned above  or selection of Boilers , you are free to reach us at [email protected] .